Covering the Commercial Space Industry

by June 14, 2018

Elon Musk’s success with Space X isn’t the only story in the commercial space industry. (Image “SpaceX CRS-8 blastoff” by Steve Jurvetson via Flickr, CC license by 2.0.)

The commercial space industry and universities have always played a role in helping NASA get beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, and into space. But in recent years, the commercial space industry has been making significant progress, attracting investment, headlines and interest.

We all know about the successes of Elon Musk’s Space X, and the growing competition between Musk and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. But that’s not the only competition in this growing industry that received $3.9 billion in private investment in 2017.

Investors took an interest in over 120 firms last year, which is a leap from the 89 firms in 2015 for an industry that is trying to reach for the stars.

If your coverage area has an aerospace industry, or universities that are active in this space, then it might be time for you to consider how you might start covering this growing commercial space industry.

During the eight years of the Obama Administration, an extra emphasis was put on enabling the commercial space industry. President Trump has plans to make it easier for these companies to do business, showing government support for commercial firms trying to head to space.

The Trump Administration also wants commercial companies to take over the International Space Station by 2025, which could prove difficult. Companies may start having several independent stations that are smaller in scope in Earth’s Low Orbit. Still, there could be money to make up there for private companies.

Commercial companies are also working on creating habitats that will help NASA get to Mars in the future. And despite Google cancelling its $20 million competition for a private company to get to the moon, three firms still say their missions are a go for landing on the moon.

There’s a lot of promise for success in space, and there’s a lot to pay attention to that’s outside of the attention grabbing activities of Space X, like sending a Tesla car into orbit.

Local communities are trying to become space hubs by capitalizing on local graduates and past investments from previous commercial space communities.

Out in Florida, where many launches occur, there’s worry about finding enough graduates to employ for the smaller companies. Large companies have no issues with finding staff, but the small startups could struggle.

Find out how your communities may be finding and creating graduates for the commercial space industry. Cities, and local associations could be deploying a variety of efforts to assist with creating or supporting the commercial space industry.

These aren’t just jobs for engineers either, as firms need manufacturing space and workers as well to create satellites, rockets and other tools for the future as new opportunities arise.

And there’s always the heart-warming angle of how schools are connecting with NASA to create the engineers, astronauts and STEM workers of the future.